Sunday, 30 September 2007

Hiking the trail that wasn't there

I'm on emergency call out this week, so can't go too far from home. Saturday dawned brilliantly sunny when it was supposed the be misery, rain and snow. So we decided to go on a short hike, and I picked Windy Point Ridge. The trail is short (1.5 km) and steep, climbing 275 m.

Or it would have been if we could have found it. We spent 40 minutes wandering the side of a mountian, going ever higher looking for the trail. We found cow pies -- lots of them, and all fresh, as there was a herd of cows contentedly muching all around us. The hilside was getting steeper and steeper, the footing worse and worse, so finally we said enough was enough, as the view up the Sheep River Valley was already fine. We only made it up about 175 m.

This first shot is a panorama of the river and valley.

This is looking back towards Sandy McNabb. Foran Grade Ridge (which we hiked a few years back) is on the left.

This is looking up the valley, with Mt. Burns, Gibralter and Shangra-La-She and the rest of the Highwood Range from right to left.

The mountain views are pretty cool, especially at this time of year with the snow capped peaks. Here's Junction Mountain, with Junction Lookout visible.

At the end of the hike, we were putting junk in our car and who should wander up but a friend of Karen's who had been hiking the same hike as us. They had just grunted up higher than us, and a trail had appeared nearer the top than we went. Apparantly, it was a popular trail today. There was a guy sitting on the top watching the raptor migration, a researcher from U of A counting bighorn sheep, and a family all wandering up to the top from the back side of the ridge. So much for our trail finding abilities.

We saw at least 3 different raptors; a Prairie Falcon zipped right past us

a Ferrgenous Hawk soared overhead

and a very big red tailed hawk went by very high.

It was a great day to be in the mountains.

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